New York & Company Inc. has asked a federal court to halt a J.C. Penney Co. Inc. ad campaign that it says infringes on its own.

This story first appeared in the November 3, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the New York-based specialty retailer alleged that Penney’s “NYC Style” slogan treads too closely to the “NY Style” tag line it has used since August 2008.

When contacted Monday, the Plano, Tex.-based department store operator said it does not comment on pending litigation. The firm’s ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, which is also a defendant, did not return a request for comment.

According to the New York & Co. complaint, the retailer has spent more than $6 million on marketing the “NY Style” mark in direct mailings, online ads and in its 580 stores.

The companies first battled over the phrase in July, when J.C. Penney ran a billboard in Herald Square that touted its Manhattan debut. That sign read, “NYC Style. JCP prices.” New York & Co. sent a letter to J.C. Penney on the matter at the time, but Saatchi & Saatchi responded by denying any conflict and reserving the right to make future use of the phrase. Saatchi & Saatchi also noted in its response that the billboard came down on July 31, the same day Penney’s opened its Manhattan flagship at the Manhattan Mall.

New York & Co. says it was compelled to bring the new suit after an Oct. 26 New York Times article revealed an upcoming Penney’s holiday spot would use the tag, “Give N.Y.C. style at J.C.P. prices.”

The specialty retailer is seeking an injunction against J.C. Penney’s use of the ads, profits obtained by their use, legal fees and other, unspecified damages.

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